What are you good at? This one question terrifies most people. We’ve been taught to stress our weaknesses instead of celebrating our strengths. Marcus Buckingham, who is famous for his research on human behavior in the work place, says, “A person or organization will never move forward by only addressing a weakness. It has to also identify and cultivate strengths to see growth.” As we grow each year, we seemingly become more and more aware of what we cannot do instead of where our genius lies. No wonder we live frustrated adult lives.
To further see the power of our gifts, we only have to look at what we dream of in our spare time. These are the things you think about and immediately dismiss as ridiculous or childish. Those are the very indicators screaming to get out and bless the world. I think it is the intent of society to squeeze us out of the lane of our own genius and force us to drive in the “lane of limitations.” It takes courage to fight the system and refuse to veer off course.
When we first learn to drive, every instructor says to keep your eyes slightly ahead and pay attention to the bends and curves of the road. It usually takes some practice to keep the vehicle steady and centered in the lane. This helps avoid most accidents because nothing is more frightening than someone drifting into another lane because they’re not focused. Life is a lot like driving. We have lanes where our creativity soars and we feel alive. If we are not watchful, others’ opinions will pull us out of our lanes. The result is a crash. Maybe not instantly, but if you drift long enough, you are bound to hit something.
Here are some simple steps to help keep you in your lane:
- Remember, only you can define yourself: Life is full of “labels.” Their purpose is to limit your genius and restrict you to a lifestyle that others define. In reality, only you can define who you are. Spend time figuring out who you were created to be. You will spend life confused asking others to do this for you.
- On this journey, you will need insight and foresight: As you drive, you have to constantly look at where you are and where you are going. Just as in life, you have to fully understand the job you have but keep pressing toward the career of your dreams. People crash because the take their eyes off of one or both. Looking ahead will keep you motivated as you navigate the path in front of you.
- Stop expecting others to do your driving for you: When we are tired or frustrated, it is very easy to turn over the driving responsibilities to someone else. It seems a spouse, friend or parent knows where you should be going more than you. But they don’t! It’s your life whether win, lose or draw. At least you can rest in the fact that your journey was determined by you; this removes bitterness from your heart in latter years.
Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” What we’ve done for too long is judge ourselves by someone else’s definition. It is not hard to locate your true genius. The difficult part comes when it is time to stand up, live big and drive in your own lane. Take the wheel today and have a better journey in the future.
© 2012, Early L. Jackson. All rights reserved.